Environmental and social impact assessment report

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The present ESIA was carried out according to the Terms of Reference agreed upon with its main financier - WB, and covered the entire scope of the Project, including construction phase and operation of the RTC and operation of the RPC. The ESIA process included desk work to review project documents and scientific literature, as well as field work aimed at verification of the available data, collection of missing information, and meetings with the Project stakeholders. General overview of biophysical environment was conducted through the desktop study. A field survey was conducted in July 2016 which implied visiting the YFI territory and the Hrazdan Canyon with the purpose to identifying occurring plant species and checking presence of any rare, endangered, endemic, or other species of concern.

For the purpose of a transparent presentation and evaluation, a tabulated evaluation matrix was applied. On the basis of a point scale, the severity of the particular environmental impact together with its general trend - that is negative or positive - was described. The evaluation scale applied is as follows:

Extent of impact:

 = high

 = medium

 = low

 = no impact

 = locally positive

 = regionally positive

For judgments international standards like standards from the EU Directives, World Bank, WHO, IFC, were used along the national Armenian standards. According to these standards, the evaluation of impacts is done as follows:
Table 2.1.Evaluation of impacts using International and National Standards

Extent of impact



International and national standards are exceeded


Between international and national standards, international and national standards are barely met


International and national standards are met

This method allowed to clarify which environmental impacts are most important and for which impacts mitigation measures must be applied in order to reduce negative effects on the environment.


3.1. National Legislation
The 10th Article of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (adopted in 1995 and amended in 2005 and 2015) states the State responsibility for environmental protection, reproduction, and wise use of natural resources. Since 1991 more than 25 codes and laws as well as numerous by-laws and regulations have been adopted to protect the environment.
Land Code (2001)

The Land Code defines the main directives for management use of the state lands, included those allocated for various purposes, such as agriculture, urban construction, industry and mining, energy production, transmission and communication lines, transport and other purposes. The Code defines the lands under the specially protected areas as well as other reserved lands. It also establishes the measures aimed to the lands protection, as well as the rights of state bodies, local authorities and citizens towards the land.

Land allocations needed for the project are done according to the Land Code.
Water Code (2002)

The main purpose of the Water Code is to provide the legal basis for the protection of the country’s water resources, the satisfaction of water needs of citizens and economic sectors through effective management of water resources, and safeguarding the protection of water resources for future generations. The Water Code addresses the following key issues: responsibilities of state/local authorities and public, development of the National Water Policy (2005) and National Water Program (2006), water cadaster and monitoring system, public access to the relevant information, water use and water system use permitting systems, trans-boundary water resources use, water quality standards, hydraulic structures operation safety issues, protection of water resources and state supervision.

The formulations of applications for the water used during the construction works, water supply and water drainage during operation of ACEO should be implemented in accordance with the requirements of the Water Code.
Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise (2014)

A law on environmental impact assessment and expertise was adopted recently (July 2014). The Law provides legal basis undertaking state environmental expertise of planned activities and concepts and presents standard steps of EIA process. The Law establishes general legal, economic, and organizational principles for conducting mandatory State EIA of various types of projects and concepts of sectoral development.

According to this law, activities are classified into 3 categories: A, B, C.

The categories are defined on the basis of the volume of the activity, characteristics and the level of impact on environment. “A” category includes such large-scale processes which have a significant impact on the environment based on practice, particularly they are: the mining industry, chemical industries, hazardous waste transportation, recycling or landfilling, metals’, construction materials’ and other products’ high-output plants, thermal energy production large installations etc. "B" category includes practically the same types of activities, but on a smaller scale or productivity. “C” category includes the types of activities that have a certain, not significant impact on environment but does not require assessment of this impact.

The state expertise procedure consists of 2 stages. During the first stage lasting 1 month the Ministry of Nature Protection (MNP) and the public are notified about the project (short summary), and the first round of public consultation it held. The MNP undertakes classification of a project and recommends TOR for the EIA, if the EIA is required according to the classification outcome. EIA is not required for “C” category, just a notification and public hearings of initial stage.

At the second stage, an EIA report is submitted to the MNP and the Ministry undertakes its review during 60 days for a category “A” project or 40 days for a category “B” project. Two public consultation meetings are required at this stage. The Ministry may extent the review deadline for up to 30 days after which it issues a positive (permitting) or a negative conclusion of the expert review.

According to this Law, the healthcare activity is not subject to environmental expertise, but the construction works are, as the construction site exceeds 1500m2.

Law on Atmospheric Air Protection (1994)

The objective of the Law is to provide the cleanness of the atmospheric air, elimination and prevention of the negative impact on the atmospheric air, as well as regulation of public relations in this field. The Law defines norms of permissible amount of concentrations and physical negative impact as well as norms of permissible pollution from movable and unmovable sources.

The limitation of emissions resulting from fuel combustion in the boiler is done by this Law.
Law on Medical Care and Services to the Population (1996)

The Law on Medical Care and Services to the Population establishes the legal, economic and financial guidelines for medical care and service delivery, which ensures the realization of people’s constitutional right to preserve their health.

Law on Ensuring Sanitary-epidemiological Security of the RA Population (1992)

The Law “On Ensuring Sanitary-Epidemiological Security of the RA Population” was adopted in 1992, which sets legal, economic and institutional bases for ensured sanitary and epidemiological safety of the population, as well as other guaranties provided for by the State to exclude influence of adverse and hazardous factors on human organism and ensure favorable conditions for vital capacity of the present and future generations.

Sanitary-epidemiological conditions of ACEO must comply with the terms of this law.
Law on the Protection and Use of Fixed Cultural and Historic Monuments and Historic Environment (1998)

This Law provides the legal and policy basis for the protection and use of such monuments in Armenia and regulates the relations between protection and use activities. Article 15 of the Law describes procedures for, among other things, the discovery and state registration of monuments, the assessment of protection zones around them, and the creation of historic-cultural reserves. Article 22 requires the approval of the authorized body (Department of Historic and Cultural Monuments Preservation) before land can be allocated for construction, agricultural and other types of activities in areas containing monuments.

According to this Law, any case of a chance find must be communicated to the Department of Historic and Cultural Monuments Preservation.
Law on Wastes (2004)

The law regulates legal and economic relations connected to the collection, transfer, maintenance, development, reduction of volumes, prevention of negative impact on human health and environment. The law defines objects of waste usage, the main principles and directions of state policy, the principles of state standardization, inventory, and introduction of statistical data, the implementation of their requirements and mechanisms, the principles of wastes processing, the requirements for presenting wastes for the state monitoring, activities to decrease the amount of the wastes, including nature utilization payments, as well as the compensation for the damages caused to the human health and environment by the legal entities and individuals, using the wastes, as well as requirements for state monitoring and legal violations.

Constructional, clinical and daily waste management occurred during the central construction and operation must comply with this Law.
Law on Environmental Oversight (2005)

This Law regulates the issues of organization and enforcement of oversight over the implementation of environmental legislation of the Republic of Armenia, and defines the legal and economic bases underlying the specifics of oversight, the relevant procedures, conditions and relations, as well as environmental oversight in the Republic of Armenia.

The State Environmental Inspection of RA Ministry of Nature Protection will have authority to exercise State control on the environmental aspects of the construction and operation of the ACEO according to this Law.

3.2. Licenses and permits to be obtained for construction and for operation of ACEO premises
Construction Phase

  • Civil license in the area of the capital construction, including development of documents for urban development, engineering research and expertise to be held by the design company.

  • Civil license in the area of capital construction to be held by the construction company providing works.

  • Positive conclusions for construction of RTC issued by State Environmental Expertise SNCO of the MNP to be obtained by the constructor prior to commencement of works.

  • Agreements from the Yerevan municipality for the disposal of excavated materials and construction wastes in the formal disposal sites to be obtained by construction contractors prior to transportation and disposal of construction waste and spoil.

Operation Phase

  • Technical passports for medical wastes to be developed by ACEO and approved by the MNP;

  • Agreement between ACEO and especially licensed company for the hand-over and disposal of medical waste;

  • Agreement between ACEO and especially licensed company for the hand-over, deactivation and disposal of chemically active liquids.

    1. World Bank Safeguard Policies

Construction of the RTC will be supported by the World Bank-financed DPCP. This project triggers the World Bank OP/BP 4.01 Environmental Assessment and is classified as environmental Category B. The HPIU carried out screening of ACEO project and confirmed that it indeed falls under Category B. Construction of RTC requires ESIA and development of the ESMP. World Bank does not support construction and operation of the RPC, however because both RPC and RTC are parts of the ACEO, the Government-financed construction and operation of RPC is an activity associated with the World Bank-financed construction of the RTC. As long as the national environmental legislation does not require environmental and social due diligence at the operation phase, and ESMP for the operation phase of RPC was developed by the HPIU upon request of the World Bank, so that operation of ACEO in general meets basic safeguard requirements of the World Bank

Construction of ACEO is subject to EIA procedure according to the national legislation too, that does not cover the operation phase.
The main differences between the OP/BP 4.01 and the RA Legislation (Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise) are that: (i) by the mentioned law, the activities of health organizations (hospitals, clinics, etc.) are not subject to EIA expertise, only for the construction of 1,500 m2 area EIA is required for construction works, and (ii) the national legislation does not call for the preparation of an ESMP, while OP/BP 4.01 clearly sets forth such requirement.
Activities supported from the World Bank-financed DPCP will be carried out in compliance with the World Bank/IFC General Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines. 

    1. International Agreements

Out of the international agreements signed by the RA, those most important for the purposes of ACEO Project are the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (RA being a party since 1999), and the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (RA being a party since 2001).

According to the requirements of the Aarhus Convention before making a decision of ACEO construction it is necessary to notify the public, local authorities and interested bodies on the proposed project and to carry out public consultations.

    1. Technical Standards and Regulations

The national technical standards and regulations applicable to the construction of ACEO are as follows:

- The RA Health Minister’s N 138 order as of May 6, 2002 on approving N2 – III – 11.3 sanitary norms on Noise at Workplaces, Public and Residential Buildings, and Residential Construction Areas.
- The RA Health Minister’s N 01-N order as of January 25, 2010, on Approving Sanitary Rules and Norms of Soil Quality Hygiene Requirements N
- The RA Health Minister’s N 533-N order as of May 17, 2006, on Approving HN N 2.2.4-009-06 Vibration Hygiene Norms at Workplaces, Residential and Public Buildings.
- The RA Government Decision N 750-N as of May 29, 2006 on Establishment of Technical Regulations for Requirements on Re-cultivation and for Classification of Disturbed Lands Which Are Subject to Re-cultivation.

    1. Administrative Framework

This section reviews the roles of government agencies that may have involvement in the ACEO project, primarily, but not exclusively, from an environment perspective.

Ministry of Nature Protection

The MNP is responsible for the protection, sustainable use, and regeneration of natural resources as well as the improvement of the environment in the Republic of Armenia. In those areas, the MNP’s authority includes overseeing national policy development, developing environmental standards and guidelines, and enforcement. The MNP also undertakes several functions through the following key detached divisions and subordinate bodies:

  • Environmental Impact Expertise Center SNCO conducts environmental assessments and issues conclusions. In 2012 RPC construction project was submitted to environmental expertise and received a positive opinion.

  • State Environmental Inspectorate includes 11 Regional Environmental Inspectorates and oversees the implementation of legislative and regulatory standards in natural resources protection, use and regeneration. It also conducts environmental inspections at worksites for control of environmental measures and valid permits.

During the RPC construction, State Environmental Inspectorate has implemented a control of the measures represented in EIA. Environmental Impact Monitoring Center collects water quality data from 131 sampling points.

Monitoring areas carried out by this center also include Ajapnyak district, where ACEO is situated.

  • Water Resources Management Agency

WRMA is the key institution responsible for the water resources management: development of National Water Policy and National Water Plan; classification of water resources by their purpose usage; participation in water standards development and supervise their application, issue water use permits, etc.

Water Resources Management Agency sets water use and discharge limits for all organizations.
Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health (MH) is a state body of executive authority, which elaborates and implements the policies of the Republic of Armenia Government in the healthcare sector. The MH implements the functions related to development and organization of implementation of healthcare management policy and state projects, development and approval and sanitary norms and rules, drafting as well as oversight over implementation of laws and regulations related to healthcare sector.

The MH is designated by the Government as the implementing entity for the WB-financed projects. The Ministry is supported by the Health Projects Implementation Unit (HPIU). The HPIU will be responsible for managing ACEO project, including its environmental compliance.
Yerevan Municipality

Within the Yerevan municipality, there is a nature protection department, which performs monitoring of implementation of nature protection legal norms for the general use lands under the municipal authority.

Location and conditions of landfilling of ACEO waste was set by the municipality of Yerevan.

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